Re-Read Review: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (Vampire Chronicles #1)


Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice // VBC ReviewInterview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1)
Anne Rice
Published: April 12, 1976 (Knopf) / Most-recent edition 2004 (Ballantine)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

It almost seems silly to have to give a synopsis of Interview with the Vampire before I get to the review, but for format’s sake and for those who may not be familiar with the story, here it goes:

Interview with the Vampire is literally that, an interview with a vampire. It tells the story of titular vampire Louis, or rather Louis tells his story to a very willing journalist referred throughout the story as “the boy.” Louis recounts his life, mainly that of being turned into a vampire in 1791 by the ever charismatic Lestat, and his subsequent journey that follows in his search to figure out his place in the world, where do vampires come from, what it means to have to kill in order to sustain his own life, and does that make him evil or the product of Satan.

Now, I have previously read Interview, but it was a long long time ago when there was no way I could possibly understand all the existential talk or innuendo that occurs throughout so it was nice to read it with a fresh set of eyes so to speak.

Opening the book, I was mildly surprised with how hypnotic and beautiful the writing was. I was drawn into Louis’ story and I wouldn’t want to put it down. Once I did, it was almost as if some spell was broken because at times I found myself not readily wanting to pick the book up again, as soon as I would, however, I couldn’t help but get pulled into the story once again.

Louis’ story can, at times, be a bit maudlin. After the death of his brother, Louis searches out death. Once he receives it at the hands of Lestat (albeit not a true death), he’s left wondering more about the mortal existence as well as the belief in God and the Devil. These musings really require each passage to be slowly and precisely read (no skimming over pages here). I found the questions that Anne Rice poses (through Louis) to be very interesting.

That being said, Lestat does provide some respite from Louis’ rambling thoughts. Lestat at once appears as the most intriguing character for, as Louis observes, his actions are a mystery and bear to be explored further. We could go as far to say that Lestat is the cause of all Louis’ reflections. After he turns Louis, Lestat offers very little in the way of knowledge about being a vampire, releasing information only in little bits and pieces. This drives Louis to figure out whether Lestat is just as ignorant as he is or if he’s truly keeping the secrets closely guarded, and readers are left questioning his motivations as well. Lestat is everything worthy of being cast as the (anti)hero of his own stories, which Rice thought the same as she uses him as the center for much of the rest of the Chronicles.

An excellent example of Lestat’s nefarious actions is the fact that he turns Claudia in order to keep Louis from leaving him. Claudia forever embodies that of a child, but as the years go on it becomes clear that her mind is developing into that of a woman. I would have to say Claudia’s story is probably the most tragic in that she’s forever forced to rely on others and while her mind can comprehend the idea of being a woman, her body will never progress. She’s stuck. I don’t begrudge her the edge of sanity that she balances on once she realizes what eternity holds for her. I suppose in the way Lestat’s actions drive Louis in the beginning, Louis’ relationship with Claudia eventually leads into the development of the answers he seeks, whether good or bad, in the end.

By the end, it is very apparent one of the reasons why Rice does not continue on with Louis as a main narrator of the rest of the Chronicles. His story, his past and his quest for the knowledge he seeks has been answered (at least in his mind). He’s only able to give his interview because he believes, or he’s at least conceded, that that he’s learned all there is to know, or all he wants to know, at this point.

If anything, you should read Interview for the fact that it’s a classic. Rice helped shape the current way vampires appear in books and movies and it’s interesting to see where things started. I, for one, feel like I appreciate the story more re-reading it years later than I did the first time around.

Sexual content: References to sex and implied sexuality

One Response to “Re-Read Review: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (Vampire Chronicles #1)”

  1. I listened to this book a few years ago, after reading it in high school. I loved revisiting this book. I enjoyed revisiting The Vampire Lestat even more. I’ve been debating about whether to read the new book or not. I’ve tried to read some of Rice’s recent work and couldn’t get into it. I don’t want to spoil her in my mind by reading something that I won’t love.

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